Sneakerhead communities kick back against bots and resellers
Future. Sneakerheads are creating their own communities to push against an overpriced market that’s filled with bots and resellers that are just looking to make a profit over actually enjoying the product. But there’s too much money to be made through those channels to change the culture for good, so it may be up to brands like adidas and Nike to build initiatives themselves that put the people who love shoes front and center.
Cool the hype
Some sneaker die-hards are fighting back against the tyranny of the botters and resellers.
- SoleSavvy. The startup puts sneakerheads, not sneakers, front and center. The community is divided into cohorts of no more than 1,300, where members can sell each other sneakers — knowing that the buyer and seller are real people.
SoleSavvy CEO Dejan Pralica noted that “hyped sneakers are designed to break your heart. [Any reseller] has a driving factor of money. Our driving factor is community.”
- LACED. The app works by creating an auction that allows people to bid penny-by-penny on a seven-second timer that resets every time someone bids. It’s tedious, but it keeps out bots and helps customers score kicks for under the retail price. Oh, and you can only bid on shoes that are your size in order to promote actually wearing the sneakers.
For example, a pair of Jordans sold for a tiny $1.24 on LACED last year. Bargain deal.
LACED founder Sean Lozano knows that bot-backed resellers will always be a part of the equation, but he wants to give everyone better opportunities… and tools rather than everyone being beat.”
But not even resale platforms like StockX and GOAT would be successful without the sneakerheads that drive up demand in the first place. Maybe what can make the experience more fulfilling and doable are services that reward human discovery and effort with insider information, such as the new startup Secret Sauce.